SOURCE: ABC News
Did you catch that story about those Air Force Fighter Jets, the Stealth F-22 Raptors, that pilots are afraid to fly…?
The F-22 Raptor is America’s most expensive fighter jet!
Yet, at 143-million-dollars each, those advanced Lockheed engineering marvels are sitting idly…because pilots (Air Force says some pilots) are too worried to get in and FLY them. Pilots are asking NOT to fly the next-generation fighters or to be reassigned…
Seems these planes have a “mysterious oxygen system problem” the Air Force hasn’t been able to solve despite years of investigation.
According to the ABC News report: “For years the F-22 has been plagued with an extremely rare, but potentially deadly problem in which its pilots experience what the Air Force describes as “hypoxia-like symptoms” in mid-air. Hypoxia is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain and can be characterized by dizziness, confusion, poor judgment and, eventually, loss of consciousness”.
• One F-22 pilot apparently became so disoriented that his plane dropped down and skimmed treetops before the pilot was able to recover and head back to base.
• F-22 instructor pilot Jeff Haney died in an Alaska crash in 2010 after a critical malfunction cut off his oxygen completely in mid-air. The Air Force denies any relation to hypoxia but says it does not know what originally caused that malfunction.
In 2011 the Air Force grounded the entire fleet of F-22s…more than 180 planes…for nearly five months.
The planes cost about 79-billion-dollars! That’s $79, 000,000,000.00. (one billion = one thousand million.)
- In April 2011, when the government nearly Shut Down over budget negotiations, House Republicans, led by John Boehner, were determined to fully fund the Pentagon while negotiators were fighting over how deep to cut domestic programs and government agencies. Boehner also vowed to pass the measure despite strong opposition from President Obama and Democrats.
- Republican Paul Ryan’s Budget, supported by Boehner, cuts all domestic discretionary spending programs other than defense nearly in half.
- The Pentagon’s budget is about 530 BILLION dollars.
Contractor Lockheed Martin was awarded a defense contract of nearly 25-million for various F-22 related projects – including helping find the cause of the oxygen issue. John Boehner must have been asleep when THAT one slipped by!
In other words, The Pentagon is paying the manufacturer to find the problem. I guess the Air Force designed the Raptor then gave it to Lockheed Martin who then followed those instructions to a T?
Imagine buying an I-Pod, discovering it doesn’t work – then having to PAY Apple so Apple can find out why it’s product does not work!
Republicans have NO compunction to cut Food Stamps, Health Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Subsidized Housing, Insurance for Children (CHIP) and Unemployment Benefits. Yet they support and DEFEND building these $143 million-dollar white elephants and THEN tell YOU, Americans, that paying for health care for YOU is TOO expensive?
You know…or should know…that Republicans absolutely refuse, RE-FUSE! to put the military budget on the chopping block.
• Nobody is telling Republicans to STOP the Pentagon from developing new or more sophisticated weapons.
• Nobody is suggesting that the Pentagon shuts down and merges with Homeland Security!
• NOBODY (I hope) wants the military go without. But everybody in America knows …or SHOULD know…that the Pentagon is a bottomless pool of waste and mismanagement.
Well, everybody except Republicans.
600-dollar toilet seats? Nearly one-and-a-half MILLION travel credit cards – more than 200-thousand purchase cards? I suspect cleaners at the Pentagon probably have credit cards too…so they can buy 400-dollar mops!
So, let Republicans explain HOW it comes to pass that: America’s most advanced and expensive fighter jets are sitting idle because pilots refuse to fly them. Not ONE of the $143 million-dollar planes has ever been used in combat.
Not ONE of these super-sophisticated fighter jets saw combat in Iraq OR Afghanistan…or even the no-fly zone over Libya last year.
The Pentagon originally ordered hundreds more of the planes from Lockheed Martin,
But in 2009 critics of the program pressured Congress to cancel more funding for the F-22s.
The Air Force has glowingly described the F-22 as the future of American air dominance. But critics (including John McCain and President Obama) call the F-22 Raptor a waste of money in today’s combat environment and a danger to its own pilots.
Sections in whole or in part from: ABC News/Nightline